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domestic violence


Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation. Domestic violence may or may not constitute a crime, depending on local statutes, severity and duration of specific acts, and other variables. Alcohol consumption and mental illness can be co-morbid with abuse and present additional challenges when present alongside patterns of abuse.

Awareness, perception, and documentation of domestic violence differ from country to country, and from era to era. Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Centers for Disease Control, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or over 10% of the U.S. population.

In 1995, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) convened several national domestic violence organizations - the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and later the National Network to End Domestic Violence - to launch a new effort to support domestic violence programs' awareness and education efforts for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), observed annually in October. The collaborative effort became the Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP).

Today, the DVAP is a diverse and unique partnership of local, tribal, state and national domestic violence organizations and networks. The DVAP collaborates to collect, develop and distribute resources and ideas relevant to advocates' ongoing public and prevention awareness and education efforts not only in preparation for DVAM, but also throughout the year.

The work of the DVAP strives to creatively bring to life its statement of purpose:
The Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) supports the rights of all individuals, especially women and girls, to live in peace and dignity. Violence and all other forms of oppression against all communities and families must be eliminated. The purpose of the DVAP is to support and promote the national, tribal, territorial, state and local advocacy networks in their ongoing public education efforts through public awareness campaigns, strategies, materials, resources, capacity-building and technical assistance.

North Carolina has never publically released domestic violence statistics. On March 26, 2009, the attorney general made them public. The numbers released are staggering.

According to the attorney general office, there were 131 people murdered during a domestic violence incident. Of those killed, 99 were women, 32 were male, and most of the offenders were male (103 male offenders and 25 female offenders). There is also a new law passed in 2007 in North Carolina that requires law enforcement agencies to report incidents of domestic violence related murders to the state bureau of investigations every year. These numbers may increase because not all agencies have turned in their statistics.

The attorney general Roy Cooper is encouraging people to in an abusive situation to obtain protection orders. Only 8 out of 131 had a protection order against their murderer. And only 3 of the 8 were current. Even though protection orders are not fool proof, it is good to have one because it will lower the chance of repeat abuse.

Cooper thinks a lot of the instance of domestic violence and domestic violence related murders are related to the current economic situation.

domestic violence

If you live in North Carolina and need more information about domestic violence, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a great starting point to find information for your state. Even if you aren’t in North Carolina, it is a good website full of information for anyone concerned about domestic violence. An Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection site for North Carolina has a county by county listing of resources for the state. And of course the Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Website has information regarding laws and legislation about domestic violence in the state.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The intent was to connect battered women's advocates across the nation who were working to end men’s violence against women and children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities was conducted at the local, state and national levels.

These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had a common theme: mourning those who have died because of men’s domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end men’s violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was held. In conjunction, that same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month commemorative legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress -- such legislation has passed every year since. The Day of Unity is celebrated on the first Monday in October.

In October 1994, NCADV, in conjunction with MS. Magazine, created the Remember My Name project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence murders. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on incidents of women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented murders in the preceding year.

Now, DVAM is a national movement that works to bring men’s domestic violence and its prevention to the front of public debate. Every October, DVAM activities are planned across the country. National, statewide, and community-based domestic violence prevention and victim service organizations around the nation mark DVAM with recognition ceremonies, memorial activities, public education campaigns, community outreach events, news conferences and much more.

Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Packet, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

domestic violence ribbon card

ECU and North Carolina Resources

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Family Violence Program of Pitt County
PO Box 8429 Greenville, NC 27835-8429
Office: (252) 758-4400 Hotline: (252) 752-3811


Domestic Violence (definitions and background)
The Domestic Violence Awareness Project
Domestic Violence Site
Crisis Connection

ECU Libraries Materials